Beauden Barrett says the All Blacks will be focusing on shutting down the Springboks’ outside backs in their World Cup opener in Yokohama on Saturday.
All eyes will be on the International Stadium as two of the tournament favourites clash in what will be a decisive Pool B encounter. The Springboks have tested the All Blacks in their last two encounters in Wellington, coming away with a win and a draw.
The Bok back three have been in excellent form leading up to this weekend’s encounter, with Makazole Mapimpi scoring a hat-trick and Cheslin Kolbe a brace in the final warm-up against Japan.
Speaking in the week leading up to the encounter, Barrett said the All Blacks will have to find a way of putting the Springbok wings under pressure.
‘We’ve learned that every game of rugby is different,’ Barrett said. ‘You can’t roll up the same from one week to another; you have to start again and prepare mentally and physically accordingly. World Cups are different, so we have to start again and prepare really well.
‘South Africa certainly have some quick wingers and outside backs, so I guess we have to find ways to put them under pressure and cut their space down defensively, so it comes down to the decisions we make – how and when we kick the ball, how and when we run the ball.’
During the 2015 World Cup, Barrett was utilised as both flyhalf and fullback cover off the bench, but has most recently played at fullback in the buildup to the tournament this year.
‘If I am at fullback I have to learn how I can influence the game differently to how I would at flyhalf,’ Barrett said. ‘Both I really enjoy and both really happy to play either. I’m looking forward to this World Cup. Circumstances were certainly different. I was into my fourth year in 2015 playing more of a role off the bench, covering two positions. Hopefully my role this time around will be a little bit different and I’m excited for it.’
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